PARIS (Reuters) - Roger Federer polished off Gael Monfils without eating too far into his energy reserves on Monday, knowing he will need everything in his tank to face fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in Tuesday’s French Open quarter-final.
Locked at one set apiece when bad light stopped on Sunday, Federer was quickly into his majestic stride when battle resumed, winning 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-1 against the local favorite.
Federer, champion in 2009, lost his last two encounters with 13th seed Monfils but after breaking serve in the opening game of the day he was in complete control as he moved into the last eight at Roland Garros for the 11th time.
His thoughts then turned immediately to his 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning doubles partner Wawrinka who he leads 16-2 but who has pushed Federer hard in recent meetings -- most notably at last year’s ATP World Tour Finals when they fought each other to a standstill and tempers boiled over.
“We know each other very well. Most of the time it’s a physical game, and we know that. So we are confident in our physical form,” Federer said.
“Mentally, it’s a little bit bizarre to play one another. We know exactly the zones that we want to hit, so we have to play slightly different to the traditional game plan.”
Monfils is the only player to take a set off Federer this tournament but was far from his best on Monday, blaming an illness for his lack of resistance.
”I didn’t have a great night last night,“ he said. ”Today for me was very tough. Rog played solid. I think not very decent, but just a solid match.
“I think it was pretty obvious I have no energy today. Couldn’t challenge him because I was too tired.”
Second seed Federer is in the opposite side of the draw to Rafal Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray -- the three favorites -- and admits the prospect of a second title would be “unbelievable”.
“Clearly those thoughts also creep into my mind sometimes and go ‘how would that feel again?'” the 33-year-old father of two sets of twins said.
“Everything crosses your mind as you sit at breakfast and you have for once a quiet moment when the kids are not right there. I‘m realistic. I know there is a chance. I feel there is a lot of tennis left for me to play here.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Tony Jimenez and Ian Chadband